Community members will soon have to make adjustments to their usual routes as railroad workers begin repairs on Friday, closing crossings at 12th and 21st avenues, as well as 23rd through 26th avenues.
“Union Pacific is always conducting some sort of maintenance and renewal on its infrastructure,” said Raquel Espinoza, senior director of corporate communications at Union Pacific Railroad.
Columbus City Engineer Richard Bogus said the city received a notice several days ago from Union Pacific about the project set to repair railroad ties. Bogus said the repairs will be handled exclusively by the company.
Espinoza said the entire $16.3 million project, funded by the company, began on Aug. 10 in Fremont with a team of 70 working their way west toward Grand Island. She added that no expenses are coming from taxpayer dollars.
Espinoza said the team began work just outside of Columbus on Sept. 9. She said the project is moving forward based on the needs of each community and the rail lines. She said railroad workers will not only be working on the ties but also resurfacing the crossings.
Contractor Leslie Cooper, who was outsourced by Union Pacific, said 23rd and 26th avenues will not be closed at the same time to ensure access to Columbus Fire Department in an emergency situation. At least one downtown railroad crossing will remain open at all times, according to a news release from Union Pacific.
Cooper said not all listed avenues will be shut down at the same time and only two avenues will be closed a day.
Cooper encouraged community members to be patient while the project is completed and to follow provided detours. A subcontractor will provide traffic control signage for detours, she added.
Espinoza said the project is important to ensure train traffic moves as smoothly as possible moving forward. She added the project is slated for completion within the next week or so.
Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at email@example.com.